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Teaching MPACUK the forgotten chapter of Pakistan's history

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  • Teaching MPACUK the forgotten chapter of Pakistan's history

    The Radical Truth: Teaching MPACUK the forgotten chapter of Pakistan's history

    It's common knowledge that Pakistan does not teach its school children the truth about its brutalities during 1971, when East Pakistan broke away to become Bangladesh. The Guinness Book of Records lists the Bangladesh Genocide as one of the top 5 genocides in the 20th century, yet it's hardly featured in Pakistan's textbooks, academic discussion or the media. On the 40th Victory Day of Bangladesh, BBC Radio 4 documented how the Pakistani school children perceive Bangladesh Liberation War, they're in a state of denial of Pakistan's genocide of Bengali people in former East Pakistan. They have been taught by the propagandist a conspiracy of Hindu Indians causing tensions between the two Muslim wings of Pakistan. The children's deny Pakistanis could ever do such things to their brothers and sisters in Bangladesh! In one sense these children are also suffering abuse by their own government by being denied the truth. Pakistanis are suffering from this curse even today except of course, the military elite who live on American handouts to the tune of billions of dollars.

    As one Pakistani historian in UK writes:

    “The roots of the civil war in 1971 are of course in the partition of 1947 and the establishment of Pakistan. Since Muhammad Ali Jinnah wanted a partition on the basis of religion alone, East and West Pakistan came into being, despite the thousand mile distance and different racial, cultural and political inheritances — the only common thread was the fact that both wings were a Muslim majority. In a way, the success or failure of this experiment was the practical test of the two-nation theory. From the beginning, however, there were clear tensions between the two wings. The first one was a clash over national language (to be clear, English was to remain the official language). The Bengalis, with thousands of years of culture behind them, obviously wanted their language recognised as coequal to Urdu, not least because they did not speak Urdu. Nevertheless, Jinnah categorically refused the Bengali demand in his speech at Dacca University in February 1948, igniting the flame of linguistic nationalism. It is, of course, an irony that Jinnah himself was never fluent in Urdu and spoke mostly in English to the Bengali crowd.”

    In 1971, over 9 months, President Yahya Khan and his military commanders with the aid of local collaborators committed mass atrocities on unarmed civilians, killed an estimated three million people, raped over 300,000 women, destroyed innumerable homes to crush the rebellion, which was termed an “Indian-inspired” conspiracy. The minority Hindu community was particularly targeted. This unprecedented atrocities led to a mass exodus to India, where an estimated 10 million people took refuge. Further readings Genocide Bangladesh and Bangladesh Liberation War

    It seems that vast majority of Pakistanis in the UK are also clueless as to the true extent of what happened in 1971. Like in Pakistan, there isn't much discussion in the UK by Pakistanis or groups run by predominantly Pakistanis. This includes Muslim Public Affair Committee UK (MPACUK) – a group claiming to be the largest Muslim lobbing group representing British Muslims. Although this group has done some good work they have many flaws, including shying away from stating fundamental Islamic principals that contradicts UK laws e.g. on homosexuality, feminism and women's role, Sharia law, emigration of Muslins etc. In its mission statements, it claims to have the interest of Muslims close to its heart and aims to empower them, yet on the subject of Pakistan's genocide in Bangladesh MPACUK is silent. Bangladeshis make up a large proportion of the UK Muslim population, however they are desperately lagging behind other ethnic minority groups. MPACUK likes to highlight persecutions of Muslims around the world but when it's Muslims against Muslims, they are silent. The war of 1971 plays a major role in shaping the Bangladeshi community in Britain, with important dates being celebrated throughout the year as a way to remember their sacrifice. MPACUK's silence is evident on its website with not a single article chronicling the events of 1971.

    One of their article from 2010 “Pakistan: Nothing To Celebrate?” talks about Pakistan's false sense of independence but fails to mention the important history of East Pakistan's breakaway. Instead it incorrectly refers to the partition and birth of Pakistan as “liberation of approximately 400 million Muslims, in Pakistan and Bangladesh”, omitting the violent separation of East Pakistan to form independent Bangladesh in 1971. The above population figure is also wrong as it is of modern day Pakistan and Bangladesh and not of West and East Pakistan after partition (Independence of Pakistan). MPACUK must have Pakistan's text book in its library, where the chapter about the birth of Bangladesh and Pakistan's genocide in 1971 is missing.

    Another of their article from 2008 "The Septembers of Our Lives" - about the 1982 massacre of 3,500 unarmed civilians in Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila in Beirut, Lebanon. In the readers comments section, there is a debate between 'Shan' - a Pakistani nationalist and denier of Bangladesh genocide versus 'Olson' - who is presenting figures of the genocide from various sources and accounts of Bangladeshi work colleagues. Iqbal a Bengali Muslim, after reading Shan's disgusting comments replied (see below) by highlighting MPACUK's failure in allowing such genocide denying pro-Pakistani nationalist comments. He also suggested that if crimes in Palestine and Kashmir in mentioned then to mention the genocide in Bangladesh too. Did MPACUK heed this? No. Is there any wonder why people like Shan deny Pakistan's genocide in Bangladesh?

    A reader's comment on "The Septembers of Our Lives"

    The lack of information about Bangladesh Liberation War was highlighted to MPACUK by e-mail (see below). It was met with ignorance, even the request for an answer from the CEO went ignored. One wonders why? MPACUK's 4 core principals are Reviving the obligation of Jihad, Anti-Zionism, Institutional Revival, and Accountability. These are just buzz words to MPACUK as it does not fully explain or understand terms like Jihad etc. but selectively define them to fit their own weak agenda. Where is the accountability when they choose to ignore important subjects that highlights the crimes of Pakistan and everyone's failure to teach this history? MPACUK's ignorance of these e-mails says a lot about this group i.e. it's run by a bunch of amateur, ignorant, uneducated, childish youths of Pakistani ethnic origin. It's not a mainstream organisation representing UK Muslims but more of a cult that is run by few for the few, who think they are right and everyone else is wrong.

    Unless we understand our own history and repent for our failings, how can Muslims in the UK progress? Pakistan has not unequivocally asked for forgiveness for killing hundreds of thousands of its fellow citizens. The wound is being kept green. Anyone denying this crime is also a criminal. MPACUK likes to hold others accountable but accountability has no meaning when others hold MPACUK accountable. We challenge them to prove this wrong. We also challenge them to be transparent by publishing its CEO's and board members for the last decade to prove it's not a mere “cult”.

    Update: 10 March 2012
    After reading this blog on the 26th of Feb 2012, Ramadhan Saeed, CEO of MPACUK must have been panicked. Having realised the above points were valid and credible, Ramadhan Saeed in his moment of chaos, tweeted this paltry gesture on Bangladesh genocide! Note the date when he wrote the message on tweeter, it was after he read this blog. He then posted the abysmal comment below on behalf of MPACUK with a link to this tweet, denying his group has any pro-Pakistan bias. I think you would disagree very much with Dr Saeed. The points raised above are still being ignored by MPACUK and Dr Saeed. What a childish behaviour!
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